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A credit card debt that spiraled out of control

A WOMAN ran up debts of 1 million yuan (US$146,360) on almost 100 credit cards, forcing her family to sell their apartment to help her repay the banks and avoid lawsuits, Songjiang District police said yesterday.

The woman, surnamed Li, who was born in the 1980s, worked in a department store and developed an expensive taste for fashionable clothes. But her salary couldn't support her lifestyle and three years ago she applied for seven credit cards, each with a 10,000 yuan limit.

She enjoyed a life of luxury until it came time to pay the bills.

She then consulted two so-called financial experts online and paid them 1,500 yuan a month to help her use credit cards to cover her debt.

They introduced her to stores which allowed her to make dummy purchases where she got cash instead of goods in return for a fee.

She used new cards to get money to pay off her other credit cards, but when the debts became unmanageable she began to borrow money from friends and family.

Eventually, Li had almost 100 credit cards and was heavily in debt. That was when a friend decided to call the police.

When they found out what had been happening, her parents used their life savings and sold their apartment in downtown Huangpu District to help her repay her debts.

Police urged people not to take advice from online financial advisers and have asked banks to tighten the rules on issuing credit cards. They also urged banks to share information so abnormal credit card activity could be identified.


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